If you are looking for an alternative to freshwater aquarium fish, it is time to give a chance to critters like Ramshorn Snail, which are incredibly fascinating creatures. Not only they are a delight to keep in the tank, but you can also care for them without any hassle or headache.
Once you bring them to your home aquarium, most of your day will be spent simply observing them move around. They are always eager to move around and look for algae to feast.
We highly recommend snails like Ramshorn Snail to aquarists, which have made them even more popular choices for freshwater aquariums in the past few years.
Lucky for you, you have our incredibly helpful care guide to teach you everything you should know about Ramshorn Snail, including their habitat, water parameters, diet, breeding, tank mates, and several other factors that you should keep in mind.
Let’s not waste any more time and get right to it.
Ramshorn Snails belong to the Planorbidae family, and they are given the scientific name Planorbarius corneus. They are a fascinating addition to existing aquariums, and they thrive well in the already established ecosystem.
These snails are known to latch themselves to rocks and live plants, due to which they are highly common in the aquarium community. However, they aren’t easily found in the wild.
|Life Span||1-3 years|
|Color Form||Red or black|
|Size||Up to 1 inch|
|Tank Setup||Freshwater with live plants|
|Minimum Tank Size||5 Gallons|
Most of these snails are found to inhabit small ponds and streams, and they are usually found in the aquarium trade. You can buy a Ramshorn Snail to keep as a pet, or they might also become a surprise addition to your tank.
In any case, it is very important to take care of these critters, which is actually quite easy, since they are hardy and adaptable creatures. Moreover, they serve a functional purpose in the aquarium.
On average, Ramshorn Snails are known to live only up to a year, but they can live up to 3 years with the right water conditions.
Although they are resilient, they should be kept in a proper environment with access to a well-balanced diet. By doing the same, you can extend their life expectancy to a significant extent.
When it comes to the appearance of Ramshorn Snails, they offer a lot of variety in both their skin and their shells. This also means that they have a wide range of color combinations.
Generally, their skin has a black or red coloration, and the black ones have a melanin pigment that gives them their color. On the other hand, red snails have this color due to their blood, which is filled with hemoglobin unlike other species of snails.
These creatures get their name because of their unique shell, which has a flat spiral. It looks like a “ram’s horn”, hence the name. The shell colors also vary, and you can observe different shades of light and dark brown. Moreover, you can also see different specimens with red, blue, or spotted shells.
An interesting fact about Ramshorn Snails is that their shells continue to grow as they grow older. As young snails, their shells appear to be thin and translucent. However, when they get a proper diet, their shell will harden and become more opaque as they grow.
The spiral pattern of their ram’s horn-like shell also grows in time. The pattern spirals sideways with time, and there is a small hole at the center of their spiral. You may also observe some of their skin poking out from the hole every now and then.
Most snails have an operculum, i.e. a sort of trapdoor at the bottom of their shell, and this is mostly found in most marine and freshwater species. Its job is to block air out when these snails aren’t inside water.
However, Ramshorn Snails don’t contain this operculum, because they breathe oxygen from the atmosphere.
Ramshorn Snails measure around 1 inch in diameter. You may have noticed that their size, unlike that of fish, is measured in diameter. This means that they are slightly bigger than a regular coin.
Some experts also suggest that the size of these snails is dependent on the quality of care that they receive. We have personally experienced snails who have grown larger after receiving the best level of care.
Ramshorn Snail Care
As we have mentioned several times in this guide, caring for Ramshorn Snails doesn’t come with any major issues or hurdles. They are highly resilient and adaptable creatures that thrive in various environments.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should slack off on the water quality and environment. If you want your snails to live longer and stay healthy for their entire lifespan, you will have to commit to their care and maintenance.
With that said, let’s have a look at the specific care requirements and guidelines that you should know about.
Another wonderful thing about Ramshorn Snail is that they require very little space to stay happy and healthy. They can thrive in a minimum tank size of 5 gallons. However, if you are looking to keep more than one snail in the tank, then we suggest you should go for a 10-gallon tank.
Although they are known to be slow-moving creatures like to roam around the tank, and extra space facilitates their growth. Plus, it would also mean that they find more natural foods to munch on.
Ramshorn Snails thrive in moderate water conditions, which means that you don’t have to work hard to maintain the tank conditions for them. Although there aren’t any special conditions that you need to maintain, consistency is the key to taking care of them.
If you subject them to a constantly changing environment, these snails will get stressed and quickly fall ill. Moreover, it would hamper their growth.
By providing them with quality conditions, not only can you affect their health in a positive way, but it will also facilitate the growth and strength of their shells. Thankfully, they thrive in a range of conditions, whether they are completely clear waters or dark murky waters.
Ideally, you should preserve certain water conditions in order to keep the critters healthy. For starters, you should set the water temperature between 70°F to 78°F, while the pH levels should be set between 7.0 and 7.5. Moreover, the water hardness should be set between 5 to 15 dKH.
To maintain the water conditions in the aquarium, you should perform regular water tests and water changes, which is also something that is beneficial for other species in the aquarium, especially if you have a community tank.
What to Put in Their Tank?
You don’t have to do a lot or work hard with regards to decorations for Ramshorn Snails. While most of the fish require hiding spots and shelter spaces, there aren’t any such requirements for Ramshorn Snails.
However, you can certainly add live plants to the aquarium, as they love to latch on to plant leaves and eat algae off of them.
However, there is a debate in the aquarium community about whether Ramshorn Snails can live in a tank with live plants. Some say that they will destroy live plants, while others believe that there won’t be any such issue.
If you ask us, Ramshorn Snails will only eat live plants when they aren’t getting enough food to fulfill their nutritional requirements. If you give them a proper diet, they would never attack the plants.
Moreover, you can add standard filtration to the aquarium. For this purpose, you can opt for a HOB or traditional canister filter.
The filtration system should be strong enough to keep the nitrate and ammonia levels at bay. These compounds can be harmful to aquatic creatures, which is why you need to ensure that their levels don’t rise.
Usually, you have to worry about freshwater creatures and the diseases they are susceptible to. However, with Ramshorn Snails, you have to be concerned with the diseases they may bring to your aquarium, particularly if you have a community tank or more than one species.
Generally, they are resilient and hardy, so they are safe from major diseases that plague most of the species of fish and critters. However, they have a bad reputation for bringing diseases into community tanks.
When you buy them from a fish store, they are at risk of having parasitic skin flukes. This is a type of parasitic infection that these snails are most susceptible to. The worst part is that this infection is impossible to spot from the naked eye.
Therefore, you may put other fish and critters at risk of infection if you place them in the aquarium, and you might not even realize that you are doing so. Parasitic skin flukes latch themselves to the skin of fish and other aquatic creatures, causing them to get stressed and deteriorate their health.
If you are getting new Ramshorn Snails, make sure to quarantine them in a separate tank for nearly a month, so that you can ensure they don’t have any diseases that they can pass on to other fish species you may have in your home aquarium.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should be careful about the medicine you put in the tank when you have these snails.
None of the medication should have copper in it, because they can fall sick quickly due to this. If you keep administering this medicine to any fish or creature in the tank, this might lead to their death.
If you just have to add medication containing copper to the tank, you should quarantine your snails to another tank, just so they are safe. Make sure to maintain the water conditions even when you quarantine them since it can take a toll on their health.
What Do Ramshorn Snails Eat?
As mentioned previously, Ramshorn Snails search for algae in the aquarium, and it is really fun to observe them do so. They are often successful in finding algae on the sides of the tank. They will latch on to the glass and start feasting on the algae.
Other than keeping the fish well-fed, it would also keep your tank clean without any extra effort. Apart from this, they also like to eat any decaying plant matter, i.e. the leaves that fall off live plants. This is another way they can keep your aquarium clean.
If any of your aquatic fish die in the tank, Ramshorn Snails will also start to eat them. However, we suggest you remove any dead creatures from the tank as soon as you spot them because they can hamper the quality of the water.
You can also give them commercial foods, and they can also eat any fish flakes or pellets that are left by fish and sink to the bottom of the tank. Additionally, you can provide them with algae wafers and calcium supplements, which would strengthen their shells.
They can also thrive on basic vegetables, which include green vegetables like cucumber and lettuce. When you are feeding them, make sure to give as much food as they can eat in 5 minutes. Since they eat enough algae and plant matter, any more food can be bad for their health.
Behavior & Temperament
Usually, Ramshorn Snails like to keep to themselves, and they are peaceful species that get along well with other fish.
Although they appear to be slow-moving creatures, they are quite active and scour the tank extensively in search of food to eat. If you notice them stuck to the glass walls or hanging from a leaf, they are searching for food.
Another interesting about them is that they like to feed in groups. When one of them finds something to eat, the others would congregate around them within a few minutes.
Ramshorn Snail Tank Mates
Although they are peaceful species, Ramshorn Snails don’t get along well with aggressive fish, because they are often chased around by them. They are often the target of larger fish that have predatory instincts.
Therefore, if you want to keep them healthy and comfortable, you should keep them with smaller and peaceful species of fish, as well as peaceful snails, clams, and shrimp.
Here are some suitable tank mates for the Ramshorn Snails:
- Celestial Pearl Danio
- Cherry Shrimp
- Chili Rasbora
- Cory Catfish
- Dwarf Gourami
- Ghost Shrimp
- Honey Gourami
- Pearl Gourami
When you are keeping snails in the tank, keep in mind that they spawn in high frequency, which means that you will run out of tank space soon enough.
Although it sounds a bit cruel, aquarists keep some predatory fish species in the tank with them, so that their population is kept under control.
Breeding Ramshorn Snails is quite easy, and they reproduce quickly, as you have learned in the previous section. Moreover, you don’t have to do much in this process.
They lay eggs frequently throughout the year, which is why their population increases rapidly. They are known as hermaphrodites, meaning that they possess both male and female sexual organs.
Therefore, you don’t have to worry about sexing them or choosing a male and female pair. When they breed, one of them lays clusters of eggs throughout the aquarium. Some of the eggs are found on the stems of plants.
There are usually a dozen eggs in each cluster, and you can notice a baby snail inside the egg after a few days. A few days more, and they will emerge from the eggs, looking for food to eat. Just like their elders, they also scour for algae and plant matter in the water.
As you can see, Ramshorn Snails are fascinating little critters that are delightful and fun to have in the tank. Plus, you don’t have to work too hard to ensure their health and wellbeing, provided that you adhere to all the guidelines and instructions we have mentioned in our guide.
They aren’t just like any other snail, and you would realize this as soon as you bring them to your home aquarium.